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Actors Return to Lakelands for 13th Annual Lander Film Festival

Greenwood native Grainger Hines (left), who has had over one hundred appearances on small and large screens, shares his acting techniques as part of the 13th Annual Lander University Film Festival. Moderating the question-and-answer session was Michael Genevie (right).

Not only did the 13th annual Lander University Film Festival recognize the winning filmmakers from a variety of skill levels - it also celebrated 50 years of acting for Greenwood native Grainger Hines. The festival was held Saturday, March 18, on the Lander campus.

Hines joined Michael Genevie, who recently retired after 40 years as executive director of the Abbeville Opera House, for a question-and-answer session prior to the festival’s awards ceremony. The session covered the highlights of Hines’ long, successful career as an actor, writer and director. Both Hines and Genevie were also on hand to present awards to winners.

Hines has made over one hundred appearances on small and large screens. But when asked to name some of his most memorable roles, he said that playing Lincoln’s secretary of the Navy, Gideon Welles, in Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” (2012) marked a turning point after a dry spell of appearances for Hines. “I wasn’t able to get a job there for a while,” Hines said. “Then [‘Lincoln’] came along and it was everything I expected and more.

“That movie changed me a lot,” he said.

When asked to share his own techniques as an actor, Hines offered advice he received from Broadway actress and charter member of the Actors Studio Peggy Feury. According to Hines, Feury once told him, “Just because a writer says something in a script, it doesn’t mean it’s the truth.” While good acting requires a well-written script, of equal importance is the actor’s ability to interpret and communicate what each line means. Feury’s advice reminded Hines to consider “what’s really behind that line,” he said. “Why am I saying that line?”

Also presenting at the festival was Abbeville actor and screenwriter Shelley Reid, who is known for his role as “Cracker,” playing opposite Rick Schroder in the CBS television movie, “Too Young The Hero” (1988). Reid’s filmography also includes appearances in “Love Field” (1990), “The Almost Perfect Bank Robbery” (1997), “Radio” (2003) and “Dear John” (2011). Reid has won multiple awards for his screenplays, and his latest film, “Last Dollar,” is currently in production.

Reid served as one of four judges for the short film competition alongside Genevie, eight-time Lander Film Festival winner Sam Thomas and Department of Media and Communication alumnus Joey Plyler. At the start of the competition, each director received a unique line of dialogue that had to be creatively integrated into the script in some way. The participants had ten days to write, cast, shoot and edit their short films, limited to five minutes in length.


High School Division Winners:

  • Third Place: “Not Another Short Film,” by Emmeline McKelvey
  • Second Place: “What We Do In the Dark,” by Josiah Ingle
  • First Place: “Landline,” by James Driggers


College Division Winners:

  • Third Place: “Eyes of Elm,” by Lauren Talley
  • Second Place: “Alone,” by Tyler Shenal
  • First Place: “Sugar,” by Hayden Joyner


Open Division Winners:

  • Third Place: “Intruder,” by Nick Stevenson
  • Second Place: “Bad Joke,” by Jadyn Sopha
  • First Place: “Legos,” by Winston Cely


Special Awards:

Bryce Meyers won the award for best actor for his role as Marcus in Joyner’s, “Sugar.” Danielle Blankenship won the award for best actress for her role as Alyssa in Ingle’s “What We Do In the Dark.” Honorable mentions were given to Lyn Glidden, Angie Douda, Nafi Shahid, Jaye Cely and Max Cely.

Meyers also won the award for best screenplay for “Sugar.”

“I was really pleased with the entire event,” said Dr. Robert Stevenson, a professor in Lander’s Department of Media and Communication and the festival’s director. “I was particularly impressed with the quality of the high school, college and open division short films. The filmmakers were able to evoke a wide range of emotions in just five minutes. The audience laughed, teared up, and hid in their seats as we presented various genres.” 

A total of 19 films were submitted to this year’s film festival, all of which can be viewed for free by visiting